WASHINGTON: First Ascent of SILVERSTAR MOUNTAIN West Face, Central Couloir

Climb: SILVERSTAR MOUNTAIN West Face, Central Couloir

Date of Climb: 3/15/2005

Trip Report:
Washington Pass

West Face, Central couloir

FA; March 15 2005: Mark Allen , Anne Keller

This week Anne Keller and I agreed to attempt an undescribed line that we had both noticed over the year. This classic alpine couloir splits the West Face of the 8,800ft Silver Star Mt. It struck me one Fall day all and I couldn’t wait for spring. Originally we both dreamt of harvesting it as a ski descent, but we noticed ice! I remarked on its directness and surprised by its steep and narrow appearance. The 1,900 ft long ribbon of steep snow and gully ice shoots the whole relief of the West Face and seamed to have uniform width cutting deep into the face. We began our day at 6:15am and regretfully left the snowshoes in he car. The morning started off with demoralizing post holing until we gained the bare trail. We final got to the base at 8:30am and noticed a flow of water ice marking the couloir entrance. The ice was not climbable so we scrambled easy rock and began to simul climb in perfect neve’ and smears of gully ice. The Snow was perfect. The walls became very high around us and the couloirs became slightly steeper as we progressed. We came to the first of two mixed cruxes. The A large bolder chock stone with steep ice smears poring off both sides of the rock’s interface with the main couloir walls. The left yielded rotten ice yet the right side went at a fun M4 for a sort pitch. Leading the pitch I was forced to ditch the pack to fit through the chock slot. The Couloir again narrowed and became slightly steeper and the conditions and climbing continued to improve with every step. Looking out to the Cascades the walls perfectly framed the Liberty bell group. We could look down the steep drainage and see the walls of the couloir cleave down the West Face for several hundred feet. Before we reached the summit ridge the second mixed crux would meet us with a second chock boulder. This crux is shorter at M3 and was climbed on the left up a small coulomb of ice. Anne stepped off the snow up the final 125ft of the line on easy rock and topped out on the flat slopes just a few hundred feet North of the West Peak. We celebrated our summit with a short alpine potlatch and began our decent down the Glacier to burgundy col and back to the Methow valley.

1 comment:

marufhosen said...

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Stone Split Face